Latest update on Australian Marine Parks

Parks Australia manages 58 Australian Marine Parks in Commonwealth waters (3-200 nm offshore) – they help to conserve marine habitats and species, and support a range of uses (e.g. fishing, mining, tourism, research).


Marine Science program – building our understanding of fish and habitats

The marine science program is one of seven management programs and focuses on science discovery and investigating habitats and marine life in the parks. Information collected will help to establish baselines and inform longer-term monitoring programs. Some examples of research and outputs that may be of interest to fishers follows.

South-West Networks – Fishing for knowledge Project

The University of Western Australia has received $195,272 through Round 2 of the Our Marine Park Grants Program to build an understanding of marine parks through local ecological knowledge. Commercial and recreational fishers spend a lot of time on the water, observing patterns and trends in marine systems often invisible to science. This project focuses on understanding and celebrating fishers’ knowledge and empowering its role in management decisions. For more information, and to be sent a copy of project outputs please email: [email protected]

North-West Network – Ecological Baselines (fish, sharks, rays and habitats) Project

The North-west Ecological Baselines project has been collecting data on the fish, shark and ray species that call some of our Australian Marine Parks home. Surveys have occurred in Eighty Mile Beach, Roebuck and Kimberley Marine Parks. The project is a collaboration between Parks Australia, WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) researchers, and Kimberley Traditional Owner groups including the Dambimangari, Bardi-Jawi, Jabirr-Jabirr, Yawuru and Karajarri people and their indigenous rangers. You can read more in the Parks Australia science news. Watch this space, with findings from this research to come.

Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters (North-west, Temperate East and South-east Networks)

A study investigating recreational fishers’ interaction with Commonwealth managed Australian Marine Parks and commercial fisheries has been undertaken by the National Environmental Science Program (NESP). In particular, the researchers used existing datasets from Ningaloo Marine Park (offshore of Exmouth, WA) and the Hunter Marine Park (offshore of Seal Rocks, NSW) to investigate the motivations, values and harvest of commercially important species (i.e. yellowfin tuna, swordfish, gummy shark etc.) by recreational fishers’.

The research found that charter boat catches in WA and NSW are dominated by demersal species (bottom dwelling fish). The diversity and relative catch composition of these regions closely resembles that reported for the broader boat-based recreational fishery. However, the effort and numbers of fish harvested (retained) by the charter sector, represent a small fraction of the total recreational catch. A detailed report from the project is available here

Latest news

2021-22 Budget: Ocean Leadership Package

The Australian Government announced in April a $39.9 million investment in Australian Marine Parks as part of a broader $100 million Ocean Leadership Package. The funding will be used to support:

  • Additional rounds of Our Marine Parks Grants. The last round, Round 2, awarded 22 grants worth $6 million. Information on the 22 grants can be found here:


Marine Park Eco Narratives  are a synthesis of existing knowledge for select Australian Marine Parks, that includes information on fish found in the parks. Below is a list of the Eco-Narratives completed so far.

Want more information?

There are several ways to stay informed about what’s happening in Australian Marine Parks, including:

For more detailed information about what’s happening in the South-West and North-West Networks, read the latest communique from our Australian Marine Parks Advisory Committees